Although the New Year is just print on a calendar page, turning that page provides a great opportunity to reflect on the past and look to the future. To be perfectly honest, I am much busier five years into retirement than I thought I would be! I am not complaining—I am doing things that I enjoy. The opportunities to coach and consult with leaders as well as design and teach seminary classes encourage me to keep thinking, reading, and learning about the challenges that the church and its leaders face in the 21st century.
During the coming year, I intend to continue my personal development in several areas. First, I plan to coach and to keep developing my skills as a coach. In particular, I want to learn more about coaching across cultures. Although I have been thinking about this for awhile, the need has been brought into focus by the fact that I will have several Korean-speaking students in a Doctor of Ministry class I will teach in February.
I also want to add coaching based on Social and Emotional Intelligence to my skill set. This approach to leadership development takes into account the many ways in which a leader must be able to relate to his or her constituency in order to be both fulfilled and effective.
Of course, Mark Tidsworth and I will be training church leaders in Disciple Development Coaching and supporting them as they apply this process in their congregations.
Second, I am learning about entrepreneurship and its application to ministry. Although leaders can continue to innovate in established congregations and organizations, the challenges of our time call for creative individuals who will identify innovative approaches to ministry that will address the major needs of our time. If we continue to do things the same way, we will get the same results. Entrepreneurs learn how to interrupt that cycle.
Third, Central Baptist Theological Seminary is giving me the opportunity to consult on mentoring and coaching for Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry students, as well as teach classes for the new women’s Master of Divinity cohort in Nashville next fall.
Fourth, this coming year I intend to more intentional about writing. In addition to writing Barnabas File, I will be contributing blogs to Associated Baptist Press on a regular basis. I also hope to complete the manuscript for an eBook on missional church leadership and write curriculum on the spiritual formation of a leader.
Fifth, I continue to teach Bible study Sunday mornings for the Media Library team at our church and support the teacher development process for our Sunday school leaders. Both of these keep me involved in the challenges of lay development in the local church.
Sixth, at this point, it appears that I will be working with a couple of churches on visioning processes. Since each church is unique, the methodology must be developed based upon the needs of the church and its context. This certainly keeps a consultant fresh!
When it comes to family, we are planning a major family gathering on the Gulf Coast this summer. We hope to gather most of our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in one place at one time. That will be a challenge.
Of course, I commit all of this to God and pray for God’s leadership in my life and ministry. I am thankful for the opportunities that have come my way and those who provide them. I am looking forward to this New Year.